COOPERSTOWN, NY (WSYR-TV/WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) — When the Savannah Bananas come to Doubleday Field in Cooperstown on Saturday, September 16, it won’t be the type of baseball game you’re used to.
The Savannah Bananas aren’t a baseball team but a banana ball team. So, what is Banana Ball? And who is this team who is taking the world by storm, one field at a time?
Who are the Savannah Bananas?
Going to a Savannah Bananas game is like going to the most ridiculous game of baseball you’ve ever been to, and that’s what makes them different.
“We are not your typical baseball team. We are different. We take chances. We toe the line. We test the rules. We challenge the way things are supposed to be,” stated the Savannah Bananas.
They describe it as the fastest and most entertaining game of baseball filled with choreographed dances, men wearing kilts and performances in over-the-top music videos.
Starting as a summer collegiate team in the Coastal Plain League in 2016 and playing in seven seasons, the team left the league in 2022 to create banana ball and play it full-time, “making baseball more fast-paced, entertaining, and FUN.”
“The Bananas now field two independent professional teams – The Savannah Bananas and The Party Animals. Both teams are made up of players who are recruited and paid for their play,” states the Savannah Bananas website. “Current and former MLB stars such as Jonny Gomes, Bill Lee, and local Savannahian, Josh Reddick, have all played with the Bananas professional team.”
For the majority of the year, the team plays at “their hometown stadium, “Bananaland,” otherwise known as Grayson Stadium in Savannah, Georgia, and then in the spring, the team takes the show on the road.
“Over 250,000 people experience 50 Bananas shows throughout the year. Thousands of fans additionally tune in online to watch our globally recognized broadcast, that reimagines and redefines the way games are streamed online,” stated the Savannah Bananas.
Not only does the team serve their own Savannah Banana Beer, Banana Split Cream Soda, and specialty alcoholic drink, the Slippery Banana, at Grayson Stadium. The team even has its own online store as well.
The team has also started their own charity, Bananas Foster, which celebrates foster families and also helps other families get involved in the process of becoming one themselves.
How does Banana Ball work?
In Banana Ball there’s nine main rules. Those include the following, listed on the teams website.
Rule 1: Win the inning, get the point
“Every inning is worth one point. The team that gets the most runs in an inning, gets a point for that inning, except for the last inning, where every run counts.”
Rule 2: Two hour time limit
“You get the idea. No new inning can be started after 1 hour and 50 minutes. In the last inning of the game every run counts.”
Rule 3: No stepping out
“if the hitter steps out of the box, it’s a strike.”
Rule 4: No. Bunting.
“Bunting sucks. If a hitter bunts, they are ejected from the game.”
Rule 5: Batters can steal first
“On any pitch of an at-bat, the hitter can try to steal first base. This can happen on a pass ball, wild pitch or any time the hitter chooses.”
Rule 6: No walks allowed
“If a pitcher throws ball four, it becomes a sprint. The hitter will take off running while every defensive player on the field must touch the ball before it becomes live. The hitter can advance to as many bases as they want. The ball does not have to touch the catcher or pitcher.”
Rule 7: No mound visits allowed
“Let’s keep the game moving. No mound visits from the coach, catcher or any other players at any time. Hype your pitcher up from afar if needed.”
Rule 8: If a fan catches a foul ball, it’s an out
“Why not let the fans get in on some of the action? Whatever you do, just don’t catch a Bananas foul ball.”
Rule 9: Showdown Tiebreaker
“If the game is tied at the end of the two hour time limit, the game will go into a Showdown Tiebreaker. In each Showdown the hitter must score. If they score, it’s worth one point. If they get out, it’s worth no points and it’s called a Showdown Shutdown.
Round 1: Pitcher, catcher and one fielder vs one hitter.
Round 2: Pitcher and catcher vs one hitter.
Round 3: Pitcher, catcher and one fielder vs one hitter with bases loaded.
In the final Showdown, every run counts as a point. If no team has won after these three Showdowns, they will continue with bases loaded and one fielder until one team has won.
If any any point a homerun is hit over the outfield wall, it’s a walkoff win and the game is over.”
Savanah Bananas come to Cooperstown on Saturday, September 16
If you’re ready for a show, the team is making a stop at Cooperstown on their world tour on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 1:00 p.m. at Doubleday Field. This stop will be their final stop on this year’s World Tour and will be against the Party Animals. The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will also host an event, called “Banana Ball at the Hall” at 5 pm on Friday, September 15 and will be open until 7 pm on Saturday, September 16.